CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Lightning went all out to give fans a Clearwater beachfront watch party, but anyone who has been to Clearwater knows parking is often hard to come by, even with big lots and garages.
While there was tons of excitement throughout the night, many people had to deal with traffic before and after the game.
As the sun set on Clearwater Beach, hundreds came out to Pier 60 for the official Bolts watch party to cheer on their team from a far.
“Is there a better place to be? Beach. Hockey. It’s all good,” said Ellen Bardelli.
Daron Grothaun owns a condo on the beach and knew better than to drive.
“I got an email about there being parking issues today, so I just decided to walk,” she said.
As the Lightning scored the first goal near the top of the second period, people were still looking for a place to park.
That’s why Jim Lewis decided to take the free trolley.
“Parking can be a hassle, everyone from here knows that so you try to find any way you can to get down. They make it pretty easy with the trolley system,” he said.
The trolley is one of several alternatives the city offers to make getting to the beach enjoyable. On any given day, traffic backups can be expected, as it was rated the best beach in Florida by Trip Advisor.
“This is the first time this has ever happened out on the beach. We’ve got our number one hockey team, on the number one beach at the number one festival in the area,” said Angela Vomacka, Sugar Sand Festival Assistant Director.
Ellen Bardelli got lucky with no parking issues.
“I’m from the area I knew there would be no problem,” she said.
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